Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Greeting God in Each Other

Dear Theophilus,

Walking my dog through the park the other day I stopped to have a short conversation with Neshka (Agnes). I had never met Neshka before, but we still had a nice chat. What started the conversation was that both of us took the time to say “Hi!” to one another.

This conversation and how it started reminded me of my time in Germany almost 20 years ago. Living with a friend just south-west of Munich we decided one day to go on a bike ride through the forests surrounding the village. After I blew past a small group of hikers going the other way, I got an earful from my friend about how it’s considered common courtesy to at least greet people when you cross their paths. In Bavaria, I was told, the standard greeting is Gruess Gott! or Greetings from God! This greeting is so prevalent that it’s much like saying Bless you! when somebody sneezes.

After I reflected on the words, Gruess Gott, however, I realized just what a beautiful gesture this really is. You’re not really wishing greetings from God for that person, but rather you are greeting God in that person. You are saying that you recognize the image of God within them.

Sometimes that’s all that we need: somebody to recognize the image of God within us, unlocking His love and warmth in our hearts.

Neshka and I both took the time to see God in each other. Although our conversation was brief, the smile on my face lasted all day.

Gruess Gott!

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